Expressed emotion in first-episode schizophrenia and in ultra high-risk patients: Results from the Programma2000 (Milan, Italy)

Azienda Ospedaliera Ospedale Niguarda Ca' Granda, Milano, Dipartimento di Salute Mentale: Centro per l'individuazione e l'intervento precoce nelle psicosi-Programma 2000.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 04/2011; 189(3):331-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.03.021
Source: PubMed


Expressed emotion (EE) was examined in a large sample of families of patients with either first-episode psychosis (FEP) within the schizophrenia spectrum, or who met the criteria for ultra high-risk (UHR) of psychosis. The aim of our study was to determine the patterns and relationship of EE with the duration of untreated illness (DUI) or of untreated psychosis (DUP), as well as with illness severity. The sample used in our study included 77 FEP and 66 UHR families. The Camberwell Family Interview was used to assess EE. In both samples, about one-third of patients' families were classified as high EE, with emotional over-involvement (EOI) being the most frequent reason for a family to be classified as high EE. In FEP, higher EE correlated with longer DUI, and higher paternal EOI with longer DUP. DUI, however, was not found to correlate to EE in UHR patients. Severity of illness at the initial assessment did not relate to EE in either FEP or UHR families. Families of FEP and UHR patients were not found to differ in terms of the prevalence of a high EE rating, or of any of its subcomponents. The results of this study only partially support the hypothesis that high EE develops as a reaction to patient status. Patients from families with high EE could possibly benefit from interventions that are targeted at improving their resilience when dealing with problematic family environments.

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    • "The level of carer burden did not correlate with the duration of untreated psychosis, the patients’ anxiety, patients’ insight or severity of illness manifestation. The finding that the manifestation of the patients’ psychosis and the duration of untreated psychosis do not seem to contribute to the level of burden experienced by the carer is surprising, as duration of untreated psychosis has previously been linked with higher levels of expressed emotion [51]. Perhaps most surprising was the lack of negative correlation between patient insight and carer burden. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Carer burden is high during First Episode Psychosis (FEP) and evidence suggests that this is a predictor of poor long-term outcome. However our understanding of factors associated with higher burden is poor. We propose that carers’ cultural backgrounds and health belief models will influence their perceived burden of care, over and above that explained by severity of illness. Methods Patients with FEP and their primary Carers were recruited from the Early Intervention Service. Patients and Carers completed a range of validated measures, self-report ethnicity and demographic information together with the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control and Caregiver Burden Inventory. Results Significant correlations were found between carer burden and health beliefs, which differed by ethnicity and gender. High physical burden was experienced by Black carers with an external locus of control; time restrictions and emotional burden correlated with an external locus of control in Asian carers. For White carers, external locus of control correlated with time dependence burden. In all ethnic groups female carers experienced more time dependency, physical and developmental burden. No significant correlations were found between patient measures of severity or duration of illness and carer burden. Conclusions The type of burden experienced by carers differed between gender and ethnicity and was related to their health belief models. Thus the explanation and understanding of illness appears to be more salient than simply a patient’s severity of illness when considering the development of carer burden. Interventions to tackle high carer burden, and thus expressed emotion to improve outcome in patients, may need increasing focus here.
    BMC Psychiatry 06/2014; 14(1):171. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-14-171 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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    • "A determinant role in breaking psychosis, particularly in symptomatic relapses, seems to play the emotional familiar climate [115]. After neuroleptic drugs introduction, the majority of psychiatric patients came back to live in their own social milieu. "
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    ABSTRACT: We discuss recent evidences about schizophrenia (frequency, onset, course, risk factors and genetics) and their influences to some epidemiological myths about schizophrenia diffuse between psychiatric and psychopathology clinicians. The scope is to evaluate if the new acquisitions may change the rehabilitation approaches to schizophrenia modifying the balance about the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia accepting that the cognitive deficits are produced by errors during the normal development of the brain (neurodevelopmental hypothesis) that remains stable in the course of illness and the neurodegenerative hypothesis according of which they derived from a degenerative process that goes on inexorably. RESEARCH METHOD/DESIGN: A review of the literature about epidemiology of schizophrenia has been performed and the contributions of some of these evidence to neurodevelopmental hypothesis and to rehabilitation has been described. It cannot be definitively concluded for or against the neurodevelopmental or degenerative hypothesis, but efforts in understanding basis of schizophrenia must go on. Until now, rehabilitation programs are based on the vulnerability-stress model: supposing an early deficit that go on stable during the life under favorable circumstances. So, rehabilitation approaches (as neuro-cognitive approaches, social skill training, cognitive-emotional training) are focused on the individual and micro-group coping skills, aiming to help people with schizophrenia to cope with environmental stress factors. Coping of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia may represents the starting-point for further research on schizophrenia, cohort studies and randomized trials are necessary to defined the range of effectiveness and the outcome of the treatments.
    Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health 07/2012; 8:52-66. DOI:10.2174/1745017901208010052
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    ABSTRACT: Expressed emotion (EE) is a measure of the family environment reflecting the amount of criticism and emotional over-involvement expressed by a key relative towards a family member with a disorder or impairment. Patients from high EE homes have a poorer illness prognosis than do patients from low EE homes. Despite EE's well-established predictive validity, questions remain regarding why some family members express high levels of EE attitudes while others do not. Based on indirect evidence from previous research, the current study tested whether shame and guilt/self-blame about having a relative with schizophrenia serve as predictors of EE. A sample of 72 family members of patients with schizophrenia completed the Five Minute Speech Sample to measure EE, along with questionnaires assessing self-directed emotions. In line with the hypotheses, higher levels of both shame and guilt/self-blame about having a relative with schizophrenia predicted high EE. Results of the current study elucidate the EE construct and have implications for working with families of patients with schizophrenia.
    Psychiatry Research 02/2012; 196(1):27-31. DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2011.08.009 · 2.47 Impact Factor
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